Have you gone to leadership with a question or concern, only to leave the encounter feeling like you have not been heard? Sure, communication occurred. There was an exchange of words back and forth, but you felt the issue at hand was dismissed. There was the feeling that no matter what was said, leadership remained steadfast in their response.

That has me thinking a lot about leadership.


Because as physicians we are leaders. From the frontline to the C-suite we lead.

We lead patients and staff and teams every day. The question is, are we effective leaders?

If at times we feel dismissed when we interact with leadership, it’s fair to say there are times when those we lead feel dismissed as well. 

Thinking about effective leaders, three things come to mind. 

  1. There is a feeling of you feel safe communicating concerns and asking questions.
  2. There is the feeling of being listened to, knowing that although an immediate solution may not be at hand, there is an understanding of the situation.
  3. Communication transcends the hierarchy of There is a mutual respect. Each person’s perspective is valued from the frontline to the C-suite.

In medicine, often, our leaders are practicing physicians who have risen through the ranks. They may not have had formal leadership training. The new position may offer the opportunity to complete courses, certifications, and degrees in leadership. Much of their experience is from on-the-job training. 

Combine that with the experiences they’ve had in clinical practice and it’s easy to understand how leadership may not be as responsive. 

That should not stop practicing physicians from developing leadership skills.

Search what makes a great leader, and the list of characteristics include integrity, empathy, communication, patience, active listening, and self-awareness to name a few. 

While leadership is a skill that can be learned and honed, characteristics like empathy, integrity, and self- awareness come from personal development, from having an awareness of who you are, how you are showing up, and the energy you hold behind the white coat and stethoscope. 

And that’s a great place to start. 

Are you leading your teams from the stress and overwhelm that shows up in the everyday activities of seeing patients, documenting in the EMR, and navigating the workflow? 

Have you made a commitment to deepen your connection to who you are and how you show up so you lead with L.O.V.E.?


L.O.V.E. is an acronym that stands for:

  • L: Leaning in to listen and learn
  • O: Open and Optimistic
  • V: Vision for the organization and the individual
  • E: Engagement and Empowerment

To demonstrate I’d like to share a case. Would that be okay? As neonatologist this case is from the NICU.

As a hospitalist working the overnight shift, I spent a fair amount of time with the parents. On this shift the team informed me a parent was coming in to meet with the doctor. Additionally, I was told the parent was “difficult”.

When the time came to meet the parent there was a decision to make. Do I head into the meeting guarded with the expectation that I had to defend myself and the team? Or do I bring new energy to the meeting, an energy of being open to whatever unfolds? 

I met the parent from a place of positive expectation that resulted in building a doctor-parent relationship based on mutual respect and understanding. No, I could not change the hospital course for the parent’s newborn. For months there were peaks and valleys until the newborn was ready to go home. Along the journey there was clear communication, questions asked and answered, tears shed and even words said out of frustration. And along the journey, the parent could no longer be labeled “difficult” because a trust in the team was established. That is the power of effective leadership. 

Great leaders do their work. They learn and hone the practical skills and steps to lead while doing the personal development work.

  1. They know and operate from their core
  2. They understand their triggers so when challenged they respond rather than react.
  3. They know the value of infusing new energy into the life and career for even more effective leadership.
  4. They invest in themselves.

Ready to infuse new energy to live and lead?

Download 15 Ways to Infuse New Energy to get started today.

Blessings on your journey, Dr. Stephanie